“Looking for a set of high-quality, low-latency earbuds that you can use for making music? You’ve found them”: JLab Epic Lab Edition review

A USB-C dongle gives JLab’s new premium ‘buds a musician-friendly advantage…

  • £200
  • $200
JLab Epic Lab Edition
(Image: © JLab)

MusicRadar Verdict

Looking for a set of high-quality, low-latency wireless earbuds that you can use for making music? You’ve found them.


  • +

    Excellent sound.

  • +

    USB-C dongle gives a low-latency connection option.

  • +

    Adjustable EQ with Knowles Preferred Listening Response curve.

  • +

    Hi-res audio and Bluetooth LE support.


  • -

    The case scratches fairly easily.

  • -

    It's easy to drop the earbuds as you're taking them in and out of the case.

  • -

    Average rather than amazing noise cancelling.

MusicRadar's got your back Our team of expert musicians and producers spends hours testing products to help you choose the best music-making gear for you. Find out more about how we test.

JLab Epic Lab Edition review: What is it?

Without wishing to sound negative, we were quite surprised when we heard about the JLab Epic Lab Edition earbuds, for no other reason than their price. Our impression of JLab has always been of a company that specialises in budget ear and headphones - and, again, this isn’t meant as a criticism - so a high-end pair isn’t exactly what we were expecting.

‘High-end’ the Epic Lab Edition most definitely is, though, offering the kind of features that you’d expect to find in flagship models from the likes of Apple, Sony and Bose. These include support for hi-res audio (LDAC on Android; AAC on iOS), spatial audio and Bluetooth LE.

These buds also benefit from a hybrid dual-driver design: there’s a dynamic driver and a Knowles Balanced Armature that promises to deliver “exquisite high frequencies”. To showcase this, you can select a Knowles Preferred Listening Response curve that puts particular emphasis on the treble.

As you’d expect in a pair of earbuds of this price, the Epic Lab Edition has active noise cancelling; this is ‘smart’ in the sense that it will adjust itself to the required level depending on your listening environment.

Inside the Epic Lab Edition case - which can be charged via USB or wirelessly - you’ll find another of these earbuds' most noteworthy features: a USB-C dongle. This can be plugged into your device (phone, tablet or computer) to provide an instant, low-latency audio connection via the OPUS codec. As musicians, this is something that immediately has us very interested.

If you’re using Bluetooth, the Epic Lab Edition supports version 5.3 of the standard, and offers multipoint connection support so you can connect to multiple devices. A generous selection of eartips comes in the box - three sets each of gel and memory phone tips in different sizes - and the IP 55 rating tells us that these earbuds can handle a bit of sweat and rain, but aren’t designed to be immersed in water.

JLab Epic Lab Edition

(Image credit: JLab)

JLab Epic Lab Edition review: Performance and verdict

Let’s get right to it: the JLab Epic Lab Edition earbuds sound very good indeed. As good, in fact, as pretty much any other earbuds we’ve ever tried. The EQ can easily be tweaked in the clean and simple JLab app; by default, it’s set to the crowd-pleasing JLab Signature curve, but if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of bass, the Knowles preferred option delivers a little more in terms detail, and is well worth persevering with. You can also customise the EQ across ten bands, if you wish.

The app also enables you to adjust the functionality of the earbuds’ touch controls, which are pretty responsive. Too responsive at times, in fact - there were a few occasions when we grabbed the side of the bud while listening in order to adjust the fit slightly, only to find that we’d paused our music.

As is standard these days, you can have the noise cancelling on, off or in ‘be aware’ mode, which enables you to hear external noise while you’re listening. The actual noise cancelling isn’t quite up there with the very best, but it passed the ‘rickety British train test’ as we bounced along our local line, keeping the majority of the inevitable clunks, squeaks and squeals - not to mention the other passengers’ chatter - at bay.

JLab Epic Lab Edition

(Image credit: JLab)

For us, though, the Epic Lab Edition’s real killer feature - and the one that might make you buy these earbuds in preference to any of their rivals - is that USB-C dongle. We tried this in a Google Pixel 6, Apple iPad Pro (6th generation) and various Macs, and in each case it worked perfectly, showing up as a ‘wired’ headphone device, strangely. We were slightly sceptical about how low the latency would be, but it turns out that it’s at a level that you can actually play your virtual instruments without too much delay, and significantly lower than the inevitable latency when using Bluetooth.

This is great news if you want a pair of earbuds for music making - we created a completely wireless setup by connecting a MIDI keyboard to our iPad Pro, plugging in the dongle and playing happily away on GarageBand’s built-in instruments and AU plugins. That definitely feels like progress.

We created a completely wireless setup by connecting a MIDI keyboard to our iPad Pro, plugging in the dongle and playing happily away on GarageBand’s built-in instruments and AU plugins.

We like the fact that the dongle has a dedicated slot in the Epic Lab Edition case, too, which means it should always be with you. This is very useful for when you just want to make a quick connection to a device without diving into your Bluetooth settings (it automatically overrides any existing Bluetooth connection, by the way).

Speaking of the case, it’s an average-sized but slightly weighty thing, which is possibly down to its classy metallic exterior. We actually found that extra bit of weight rather reassuring; on the downside, the finish does have a tendency to scratch if you put the case in your pocket next to a set of keys, so you’ll need to be a bit careful with it if you want to keep it looking box fresh.

Similarly, the metallic silver ring on the top of each earbud is quite easily marked if you happen to drop one on the floor. This happened a bit more regularly than we’d have liked - the stocky but rounded design of these buds means that we found them easier to drop than some other pairs, but maybe we’re just not very dextrous.

What’s more, this is a very minor complaint against a set of earbuds that are a bit of a revelation. JLab might be new to the high-end earbuds market, but with the Epic Lab Edition, it’s scored a big hit right off the bat.

MusicRadar verdict: Looking for a set of high-quality, low-latency wireless earbuds that you can use for making music? You’ve found them.

JLab Epic Lab Edition review: Hands-on demos


Aaron X Loud and Wireless

JLab Epic Lab Edition review: Specifications

  • Battery life: 56+ hours playtime (13+ hours in each earbud); 36+ total hours playtime (9+ hours in each earbud) with ANC activated
  • Dual connect technology allows each bud to be used independently
  • Bluetooth LE Audio with USB-C dongle
  • Bluetooth multipoint connects to multiple devices
  • Spatial Audio Compatible with applications such as Dolby Atmos, Tempest 3D AudioTech and Windows Sonic
  • Hi-Res Audio LDAC (Android) or AAC (iOS) or LC3 (with compatible devices)
  • Smart Active Noise Cancelling with 3 noise control modes
  • Touch controls and optional wear detect auto play/pause feature
  • Microphone: 3 MEMS (each earbud) -38 dB +/- 1 dB
  • Patented Custom EQ3 sound and touch controls
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Range: 30+ ft
  • Protocols: HSP/HFP/A2DP/AVRCP
  • Codecs: ACC / LDAC / SBC / LC3
  • Drivers: Dual design, with a Knowles Balanced Armature Driver and a second 10mm dynamic driver in each earbud
  • 20–40 kHz frequency response
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Output: 98 +/-3 dB
  • Earbud battery: 85mAh lithium polymer
  • Earbud charge time: 2 hours (in case)
  • Quick Charge: 15 mins of charging = 1 hour battery life
  • Charging case battery: 820mAh lithium polymer
  • Case charge time: 2 hours
  • Charging: Wireless or via USB-C to USB-C cable
  • IP Rating: 55
  • Three sets of gel eartips and three sets of JLab Cloud Foam
  • Google Fast Pair
  • Total weight: 76.3 grams  (including USB-C dongle in case)
  • Earbuds: 5.5 grams each
  • Dongle weight: 1.9 grams
  • Case only: 63.5 grams
  • Overall weight: 25.1 grams (earbuds + case)
  • Dimensions: Single earbud: 0.92" L x 1.05" D x 0.73" H; Case: 2.71" L x 1.06" D x 1.63" H
  • 2-year warranty
  • Contact: JLab
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.